As we all know, 2008 remains an excellent year to run for president as a Democrat.

Intense George W. Bush fatigue (brought on by an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight and a paralyzing uncertainty concerning the economy) offers a nearly insurmountable advantage in favor of the out-party.

More specifically, the young and compelling Barack Obama will run against an inarticulate presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old and looks every bit his age, who is admittedly inexpert on the economic questions, and who stubbornly (albeit bravely) advocates doggedly pursuing the unpopular war until the mission is accomplished.

I repeat: this is a good year to run as a Democrat.

Even Worse:

1. Knowledgeable pundits have predicted that Obama would receive a tremendous bounce when he finally clinches the nomination. Obama is at that point, and I suspect the big bounce is in the pipeline. Once the polls begin to reflect a double-digit lead for the Democratic candidate, all the bad will be forgotten for a time, and the new storyline will be the impending "rout" on McCain.

2. The national press corps loves Obama; moreover, they are heavily invested in Obama. The newly crowned young lion of liberalism will enjoy protection from the mainstream media from Labor Day through the first Tuesday in November. Don't hold your breath waiting for George Stephanopoulos or any other mainstream newsman to ask any irritating questions of this Democratic nominee during the homestretch.

On the other hand, John McCain will face withering wall-to-wall coverage of every gaffe, potential hypocritical anomaly, and every ache and pain. The media onslaught aimed at McCain is going to be brutal. As I said the other day, the storm of calumnious opprobrium will be intense.

3. McCain may appeal to moderates (or he may not--we will see), but conservatives continue to revile him. Of course, conservatives are much closer to McCain philosophically than Obama--but that may prove irrelevant in the end.


First, the One Hint of Good News: Because the Democrats have erred so egregiously, Republicans have a chance to elect John McCain. Barack Obama is painfully naive about the world and ill-prepared for the role of commander-in-chief (and I am not really talking about the "youth and inexperience" issue). George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, in their eighties, are painfully naive and ill-prepared to serve as president of the United States.

However, Obama's lack of foreign policy gravitas translates into merely a slim chance for John McCain. Why so slim? Realistically and historically, one cannot count on the American electorate to take that crucial fact into primary consideration.

The other BIG albeit unheralded problem: mainstream conservatism is hopelessly divided over foreign policy, or, more precisely, our predicament in Iraq. A considerable contingent of rock-ribbed conservatives see the Bush "adventure" in the Middle East as pure folly (read this essay by the late Bill Buckley for an example).

Conservatives are uneasy with McCain for myriad reasons. Even worse, the one element that might unify conservatism, a foreign policy exigency, is, in this instance, potentially more divisive than politically beneficial.

While McCain is right on Iraq in my view--and Barack is dreadfully silly--not all my conservative brethren agree. Iraq is not akin to the Cold War in which religious conservatives, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and libertarians were so energized in pursuit of a common enemy that they could lay down their divisions and rally around the flag.

Too many conservatives do not see the continuation of our mission in Iraq as absolutely essential to our vital national interests. For that reason more than any other, a long General Election night for the GOP remains our most likely scenario.